Johannine Hours



Isaiah 11:1-9

November 1997
Isaiah 11:1-9

At a time when the kings of Israel were disappointing the expectations placed in them, the prophet Isaiah found hope for a new beginning in his faith in God. He saw that God would place on the throne a son of David who would reign according to the desires of God's heart. This king would not find in himself the wisdom and strength necessary to rule; he would receive them directly from God. His action would be based on "fear of the Lord," which means here the recognition that God is the source of his activity, that everything is a gift.

Animated by the breath of the Lord, the new king would be able to "judge," in other words to bring justice to society, above all by taking care of the least fortunate. He would accomplish this task by the power of his word alone: in v. 4b, images of violence are applied to the act of speaking, of pronouncing judgements. As a result, the whole of creation will be pacified, reconciled; even snakes will lose their power to harm. The passage thus concludes on an "ecological" note, a vision of the created universe brought back to the peace of paradise, just as when it left the hands of God.

Since in the Bible the king is a figure of the human being par excellence, here the ideal king seems to restore and bring to fulfillment the vocation of Adam (Gen 2-3). Instead of stealing the fruit of knowledge, he receives it as a gift. And so this knowledge spreads out and becomes a source of reconciliation, enabling the whole of creation to recover its original harmony, desired by God from all eternity.



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